TikTok's Lessons for Nonprofits: The Power of Authenticity and Engagement

Gather Voices Digital Dynamism article nonprofit apps June 11, 2024Curious about the phenomenon behind TikTok's rise? Explore how your nonprofit can leverage its principles of authenticity and engagement to heighten impact. Plus, learn about Gather Voices, an innovative tool that empowers nonprofits to harness the authenticity of user-generated videos. Read on to uncover the secrets of digital storytelling in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Gather Voices Logo _ Digital Dynamism article nonprofit apps June 11, 2024       Summary

  • Background and Growth: TikTok has skyrocketed to over 1 billion active users by merging a user-friendly interface with a highly engaging content algorithm.
  • Unique Features: The platform’s algorithm allows ordinary users to become viral content creators.
  • Cultural Impact: TikTok influences various cultural aspects, from music and literature to culinary trends.
  • Implications for Nonprofits: TikTok can amplify nonprofit messaging and engagement, aligning well with their goals through empowering, educational, engaging, and entertaining content.
  • Potential Challenges: The potential TikTok ban in the U.S. presents an uncertain future.
  • Future Outlook: Despite uncertainties, TikTok's approach to engagement and community-building offers valuable insights for nonprofits. With solutions like Gather Voices, organizations can fully leverage storytelling to drive meaningful change in the digital age.

TikTok: A Snapshot of Success

TikTok has captivated the US with its charmingly addictive, virtually infinite stream of short-form content. The platform, known for its 5-second to 10-minute video format, has been the most downloaded app in the United States since 2018, now boasting over 1 billion active users. This surge in popularity began with Musical.ly, a Shanghai-based app founded in 2014, which ByteDance acquired in 2017. Renamed TikTok in 2018, the platform experienced explosive success, combining Musical.ly’s user base with Douyin’s popularity.

What Sets TikTok Apart?

TikTok's strength lies in its powerful, yet simple algorithm designed to learn user preferences and continually serve engaging content. This results in the highly addictive “For You Page,” where users spend an average of 52 minutes daily consuming content predominantly created by ordinary users. Unlike traditional platforms, TikTok democratizes trendsetting, enabling everyday users to achieve virality and ongoing engagement.

Cultural Impact of TikTok

TikTok has a significant cultural impact, influencing music, literature, culinary trends, and more. Artists tailor their music for TikTok’s format, bookstores create “#BookTok” displays, and viral recipes like feta pasta become widely recognized. This cultural penetration underscores TikTok’s ability to shape trends and behaviors, making it a powerful tool for nonprofits.

Implications for Nonprofits

For nonprofits, TikTok’s democratization of trendsetting and emphasis on authenticity offers a unique opportunity to enhance digital engagement. Users are drawn to genuine, relatable content that feels human. Nonprofits can leverage the 4 E’s of content—Empower, Educate, Engage, Entertain—to create compelling, authentic videos that resonate with audiences and align with their mission.

Potential Challenges

The looming threat of a TikTok ban in the U.S. raises concerns about the platform’s future. The potential ban, driven by national security issues related to ByteDance’s ties to China, could deplatform millions of creators and impact numerous businesses and nonprofits. This uncertainty underscores the need for organizations to diversify their digital strategies.

Future Outlook

Despite potential challenges, TikTok continues to innovate. Recent partnerships, like the integration with Adobe Express, provide users with advanced tools for content creation and campaign management. These developments, combined with TikTok’s insights into authentic engagement, offer valuable lessons for nonprofits aiming to enhance their digital presence.

Gather Voices: Empowering Nonprofits with Authentic Video Content

Harnessing the power of user-generated content is essential for nonprofits. Gather Voices provides an innovative solution to this challenge with a three-step process: Gather, Build, Share.

  1. Gather: Easily collect video content from volunteers, donors, and community members. Gather Voices’ intuitive platform allows nonprofits to create video request landing pages, seamlessly integrating into existing workflows.
  2. Build: Create engaging video assets with user-friendly editing tools. From adding captions to enhancing footage, Gather Voices empowers nonprofits to produce polished, compelling stories.
  3. Share: Distribute video content across multiple channels, ensuring maximum reach and impact. Whether for fundraising, event promotion, or community engagement, Gather Voices simplifies video publishing.

Gather Voices is more than a software solution; it's a movement to democratize content creation for nonprofits. By enabling organizations to capture and share authentic stories, Gather Voices amplifies voices, fosters connections, and drives meaningful change.


In the dynamic landscape of digital engagement, TikTok offers valuable lessons in authenticity and community building. For nonprofits, leveraging these principles can drive meaningful impact. Tools like Gather Voices further empower organizations to harness the power of user-generated content, creating compelling narratives that resonate deeply with audiences. Embrace these insights and elevate your nonprofit’s digital storytelling to new heights.

Gather Voices Logo _ Digital Dynamism article nonprofit apps June 11, 2024

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Topics: Fundraising, Volunteer Recruitment, Nonprofit event, cultivate donors, Donor Management, Video for nonprofits, Nonprofit Leaders